REVO Remastering: David Werner – David Werner [REVO 094]

david werner cover art
REVO | US | CD-R | 2020 | REVO 0954

David Werner: David Werner + – US – CD-R [2020]

  1. Can’t Imagine
  2. What’s Right
  3. What Do You Need To Love
  4. Melanie Cries
  5. Eye To Eye
  6. Hold On Tight
  7. Every New Romance
  8. Too Late To Try
  9. High Class Blues
  10. She Sent Me Away
  11. What Do You Need To Love [live]
  12. Can’t Imagine [live]
  13. Death Of Me yet [live]
  14. Every New Romance [live]
  15. Aggravation Non-Stop [live]

In 1979 following his two RCA records by a four year gap, David Werner began writing new material that was really clicking at a higher level than ever before. He called up his guitarist Mark Doyle and the two began recording demos that caught the ear of Epic Records, leading to his third album and this time there was a song on it that radio immediately took a shining to.

That’s because “What’s Right” was a streetwise, late model Glam Rock classic. Every lick of the tune was surgically perfected to deliver the essence of urban street cool while delivered in a breathtaking T-Rex-gone-dub chassis. Sure enough, the tune was effectively built on the sturdy “Get It On [Bang A Gong]” guitar riff, as played with aplomb by fellow Pittsburgh denizen Mark Doyle [who doubled on bass], but the solid boogie of Bolan was swapped here for touches of dubspace, with the mix dropping out after the chorus for the spotlight on those taut, muscular, echoey guitar riffs that feel so right in their Glam Rock swagger.

It should be mentioned that the album was co-produced [along with Werner and Doyle], recorded and mixed by Power Station Wunderkind Bob Clearmountain at the height of his early powers, and also features personal icon Ian Hunter leaving his touches [mix and vocals] on two tracks, so definitely this pushes all of the late 70s Rock buttons. It sounds perfect. All of Rock wishes it had half the chops of this music casually dropped.

The “David Werner” album was altogether a visceral and direct album of high energy rock filled with hooks and a much more direct kind of music than he had previously recorded. “What Do You Need To Love” was practically a blueprint for the “Jack + Diane” vibe that would break John “Cougar” Mellencamp three years later; albeit with better songs and playing!

“Every New Romance” opened with the kind of space disco synth riffage [albeit in a rock context] that perhaps was a callback to The Sweet’s “Fox On The Run” that played out for over a minute before coalescing into a mid-tempo rocker. It was the one track on the album mixed by guest star Ian Hunter instead of Clearmountain. It said volumes that they also played that one on the live album also included here, complete with live synth [not a tape] on the track.

The one odd song out here was “High Class Blues” as a duet with Ian Hunter and very much a sloppy blues number that had no real place in this tight, taut, program of Power Pop and Rock. But when a Bowie casualty like Werner gets a chance to jam with Ian Hunter, he takes it, so that’s understandable.

Also included here as bonus material, was the single sided live album, recorded at the legendary Whiskey-A-Go-Go in Los Angeles on October 3, 1979 by Bob Clearmountain and Jeff Hendrickson and sent to radio stations for promo. It featured Werner and his band tearing through an intense set with music from each of his three albums. You can hear some devout fan calling out for “Cold Shivers” at one point in the set; like anyone who might have heard the obscure but classic song four years earlier.

Alas, this was it for David Werner. He finally had the right album at the right time for the radio market. “What’s Right” was a top add at the stations that mattered, but to hear Werner talk of it, Epic Records had just embarked on a “no-return” policy to distributors for their releases at just the time that his album was released and turning heads in radio. The distributors balked at buying unproven product and were effectively in a war with the label at exactly the time that “David Werner” shipped, and the right album, with the right tunes and production happened at precisely the wrong time. Due solely to the behind the scenes posturing that was going down in 1979.

Following this album, David Werner found that he was able to eke out a successful career as a staff songwriter and producer instead of as a performer. He struck Platinum in 1990 by co-writing “Cradle Of Love,” Billy Idol’s biggest hit, but you and I both know that history should remember this guy for the smoky cool of “What’s Right.”

-30-

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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